Lithuania Shelves War Crimes Trial

From Associated Press

The first Nazi war crimes trial in Lithuania ended before it began Friday when judges postponed the proceedings indefinitely because of the defendant's ill health.

Judges said that Aleksandras Lileikis, 92, was too ill to stand trial and that the case can resume only after his health improves. Lawyers say there is virtually no chance that judges will restart the trial given Lileikis' age and condition.

The ruling came a day after the court rejected calls for a new medical examination to ascertain that Lileikis wasn't feigning illness. Judges said there were no grounds to doubt earlier findings that the stress of a trial would endanger Lileikis' life.

Lileikis is charged with genocide for allegedly sending scores of Jews to their deaths when he headed the security police in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, during the 1941-44 Nazi occupation.

He emigrated to the United States in 1955 and returned to Lithuania in 1996 as a U.S. court was moving to revoke his citizenship and deport him.

He showed up in a wheelchair and a neck brace on the first day of his trial last year, during which he became ill and was rushed to a hospital. He never returned to court.

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